Tag Archives: Lyme

Sunset Reflections

Written on the gold-speckled beaches of Coronado, San Diego
Written on the gold-speckled beaches of Coronado, San Diego

The softest sand I’ve ever felt nips between my toes

Like the downy stroke of a newborn calf

Nostrils open onto untold worlds: Salty and filled with coconut tears

I lift my soul to the sea, allowing it to thrush through my veins

Leaving markers behind, as soft whispers tend to do

I am Aphrodite with gossamer wings: Fragile but beautiful

With power burnt deep into hollow bones

Move me with your persistent trick

Your silent cry for timeless mercy

Take my hollow bones and make them your temple

So they may be fragile and weak

No more.

How to Hack Headaches Naturally (And Smell Like a York Peppermint Patty)

How to Hack Headaches Naturally (And Smell Like a York Peppermint Patty)

GOOD MORNING EVERYONE!!!

Oh, I’m sorry. Was that too loud for you? Headache got you down? I feel your pain. No, really, I actually feel your pain. A LOT. Which is why I was so thrilled to discover this super easy natural headache remedy that kicks my daily Lyme-induced headaches faster than you can say: “This is not the head you’re looking for…”

So let’s get started! Here’s what you’ll need for this delicious and 100% natural headache-busting concoction:

  1. Organic Peppermint Essential Oil. I like this one by Aura Cacia, but if you can swing the price, Young Living is by far the best essential oil company to use, as they’re therapeutic grade. DoTerra is also said to be fabulous, although I have yet to try them personally. Just starting out and don’t want to invest in top-of-the-line oils quite yet? Use code “Healthy15” for 15% off of link above!
  2. Jojoba Oil I enjoy this one by Desert Essence. Use code “Comeback10” for an additional 10% off, or check the deals section, as Vitacost is always offering great savings, and may have a better bargain!
  3. A 1/3 oz. dark glass canister to store your awesome blend. I use this one with a stainless steel rollerball applicator for ease, but you can use any dark glass container. Dark glass should always be used to protect the essential oils. Plastic should not be used, as the chemicals in it will leach into your blend, and essential oils can actually eat through plastic! This is also why any rollerball applicators should be stainless steel instead of plastic.

I’ve linked the ones I used because, hey, let’s just make life easy, right? Now that you have your supplies, find the two minutes it will take to make this super simple DIY and lets get a-mixing!

DIY Headache Blend: 

Step One: Pop out the stainless steel roller ball. Since we’re using a 1/3 oz. bottle, we’ll add 5-20 drops (3-10%) of organic Peppermint Essential Oil. It should be diluted, as it can irritate the skin if applied neat. How much you put in will depend on your preference. I actually prefer an even stronger potion than recommended, but everyone’s tolerance to essential oils is different, so start low. I can only tolerate very low doses of most other oils, so find out what your sweet spot is before wasting product (and risking skin irritation.) Want to learn more about diluting essential oils? Here is a great article on how many drops you should use for a wide variety of aromatherapy purposes!

Step Two: Fill bottle with Jojoba oil. Leave a little room at the top so the rollerball won’t cause an overflow when you insert it. I like to use Jojoba because it most closely replicates our natural sebum (oil), but you could also try Grape seed, Hemp, or Avocado. Avoid coconut, as the scent profile is too overwhelming to compliment the peppermint.

Step Three: Pop the rollerball back in and cap it. Shake, shake, shake. It also helps to dance around the room. Now uncap, breathe deeply the aromatic bouquet of minty goodness, and declare: “Headache, be-gone!” Then apply liberally to the back of your neck where the spine meets the ol’ noggin, lightly over your temples, behind your ears, over your solar plexus, and your pulse points if you desire. You can also apply some at the base of your spine. Oooh, tingly! (Tingling is normal. Do not be alarmed. Unless you didn’t listen to me and decided not to dilute the essential oil, or exceed the recommended amount. Then any skin irritation that may occur is totally on you.)

Step Four: Breathe slowly and deeply for at least ten breaths, and say: “I am calm. I am at peace. I have everything that I need.” It’s amazing how just taking a moment in a dark, quiet space to breathe into the pain can help- did you know deep breathing literally changes your brain chemistry?! No wonder yogis are so zen! Then sit back and wait for the amazing dance of the tingle-plum fairy to soothe that ache into oblivion!

Step Five: Wash your hands! For any of you who’ve ever used IcyHot and forgotten this crucial final step before rubbing your eyes, you know it is NOT fun!

And that’s it! Now that your blend is made, you can keep it with you on the go, and apply whenever your head begins to feel like a tiny Ewok is running around, bashing your noggin like a stormtrooper helmet. (RE: Final scene in Return of the Jedi.)

Enjoy! If you make this, leave me a comment on how it turns out, or take a picture and tag me on Instagram @KaitlynGGuay.

Happy Tingling! (Okay, that just sounds weird, let me try that again…)

Happy Blending! (Much better, yes?)

Surrender is Freedom

Surrender is Freedom.

A month ago, surrender was a dirty word. Filthy. The kind that makes your mama wash your mouth out with soap. “Surrender?!” Month-old me would scoff, brows knit together in disgust. “I’m not a quitter,” I would have stipulated vehemently. “I will NEVER give up.” 

Because that’s what the word surrender meant to me. Quitting. Giving up. Letting this Lyme disease win, giving it free reign to decimate my body piece by piece like a blood-crazed Wampa snow beast.

And then I went to a weekend conference at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, called “Living Well with Lyme Disease.” Believe you me, I was terrified. I had no idea how I’d make it through a whole weekend when I was too sick to leave my house most days. How would I survive? So I swallowed my pride, and climbed into the wheelchair I abhor, knowing it was the only way. So much happened that weekend, which is a whole other post in itself, but a huge take-away for me was how to heal my heart. How to put the pieces of my shattered identity back together, so that when my body does recover, I won’t still be broken; a wounded warrior.

I’ve tried for years to do all the tried and true methods: meditation, positive affirmations, etc. They never stuck. And I realized, it was because you can’t use just any positive affirmation. You have to find YOURS. And mine was not remotely what I’d thought it would be.

Surrender is Freedom.

WHAT??!! Are you crazy? Shouldn’t it be, like, I am loved, safe, and cherished,  or I am getting stronger every day, or something like that?

No. Surrender is Freedom.

<At this point, a stern Yoda puppet comes and raps me on the knuckles with his staff, muttering, “You must un-learn what you have learned….”>

And suddenly, surrender isn’t a dirty word. Because it doesn’t mean I’m going to roll over and let this disease take me down without a fight. It means I can see what actually belongs in my realm of things to work on, and what is just a waste of time and energy, because it will never, and can never be mine to control. It means I can stop berating myself for needing a wheelchair to get around, or judging myself when I can’t accomplish as much in a day as I’d like. It means I can be kind to myself.

Surrender is Freedom.

Now, you may read this phrase and viscerally reject it. You may, as I did, have the urge to spit on your screen, or yell all Luke Skywalker style: “That’s not true! That’s impossible!” But that may change. Because we all hold onto things that aren’t serving us anymore. Things that hurts us, that we’re scared to let go of, because we’d rather feel a familiar pain than the unknown. I don’t surrender my fight for health. But I do surrender what is no longer serving me, the thoughts that judge me harshly, the worry that keeps me from doing things, that paints my world in tones of fear, that crushes my spirit.

Surrender is Freedom.

And perhaps, there’s something you’d like to let go of, too. Go ahead. Throw it up. Let it go. I promise you. It feels freaking amazing. Just don’t let it hit you in the head on the way down.

<Whoosh!>

The Foda

Once Upon a Lyme: Animated Children’s Book

Hi, everyone!

I’m overwhelmed with how well my animated children’s book “Once Upon a Lyme” is doing! Today, a doctor in Virginia reached out to me and asked for a version of the video without the added author’s note feature I included in the original. I was more than happy to comply, and wanted to post the remastered version here. This is just the children’s book. Please feel free to share it with your schools, family, friends, school districts, and any other organization where children mingle and mix and play.

Cheers,

The Foda

Once Upon a Lyme: Animated Video

Howdy, folks!

It’s the beginning of May, which is Lyme Disease Awareness month. Last year I created and put out an educative children’s flipbook to help teach kids what to look for and how to stay safe while doing what kids are meant to do… play outside! This year, I took it a step further and created an animated video. Please share this with as many people as you can, and get the message out so hopefully the 300,000 new cases of Lyme reported annually in the U.S. will become far less! Knowledge is power!!!

 

 

Download a PDF of the book for free here.

Check out the links below for more information:

General Information can be found at the link below, including best safety practices, where ticks like to roam, how to remove a tick, protect your property, and even your pets.

www.StopTicks.org/prevention

Think you may have Lyme? This fabulous book by Lyme expert Dr. Richard Horowitz “Why Canʼt I Get Better?” provides all the information and scientific research youʼd ever need.

Get Dr. Horowitz’s book here.

For those already with dealing with Lyme, check out the positive and integrative website “Lyme Less, Live More,”designed to help you overcome chronic illness so you can, as the name suggests, Lyme less, live more!

I hope you enjoyed this video! Please don’t forget to share!

Cheers,

The Foda

“The Face in the Mirror”

Hi, everyone! I’m back! I had a rough several weeks there, and my writing took a hit. Brain fog, am I right? (All my fellow Lymies just nodded in sage solidarity.) I did, however, manage to write this poem on a dusky April night a couple weeks back, and am finally ready to share it. It’s not a lighthearted warm and fuzzy read, but it’s real. I’ve since alighted to a better place, but I felt this was important to share.

Cheers, The Foda

“The Face in the Mirror”

I’m combusting, she said.

Like cellophane squeezed over too much bread.

I’m bursting with nothing but skin to contain me within.

These emotions

Beholden to anyone living and learning while tucked in a body that

Screams in the silence.

Each cell like a prison,

For my cells are violence incarnate.

Cells selling me out so they erect

a cell wall;

Make it tall

so the coup is complete, yet I can’t claim defeat.

Oh, to replete.

To replenish.

My stores are empty;

I’ve used all my wares,

and I’ve still so far to go,

she sighed with a far-away stare.

You’d think, she remarked, I’d get better with coping.

With overriding this ornery statue of limitations on hoping.

My world is a pinwheel;

It spins in shades of blue

and what more can I do

and will I ever be normal like you?

So give me your prayers, she asked quite plain,

and I’ll show you my heart.

It’s brittle and beaten,

But just like a gem, you won’t know its strength until it’s been

Dropped.

Do you see me now, she asked, and I nodded with her in perfect align.

And our eyes filled with dreams

long spilled

and sorted to grace a shelf of some other time.

The face in the mirror.

The face that is mine.

“Jawas Say, Utini: Or How to Be Awesome in 2015”

“Jawas Say, Utini: Or How to Be Awesome in 2015”

A Life on Purpose.

What a cool phrase! And so “now” considering we’re all still fresh-faced and strong-willed with our 2015 resolutions.

Which I was reminded of the other day when I went to purchase yoga pants online and saw they’ve all magically reverted to full price since the new year when they were previously on sale. “Huh?” I thought. And then I realized. Oh, yeah. This is the time of year people buy yoga pants. Like a new outfit will make you work out more. Which I probably shouldn’t say with such an air of condescension, seeing as I was looking to buy them under the theory that if I wore them around the house, I’d be more likely to stretch and meditate between bouts of writing…

Foot. In. Mouth. Bleck. Moving on.

Theretofore, today I’d like to offer you an awesome tip from the magnificent Mandalf on how to maximize purpose in your life: Make a list of three things every morning that you want to accomplish that day. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Only three? But, Foda, I have, like, a million! Yes, only three. Because if you put down more than that, you’ll get overwhelmed, and do less. But if you put down three reasonable goals, it’s more likely you’ll succeed in a timely fashion… and then if you want to, you can channel all that celebratory energy into doing some more!

Or, you know, just kick back and pop open something fizzy. That too.

Mandalf calls these GTDs. Goals of the Day. But I– Star Wars aficionado that I am– call them OOTNI. Obtainable Objectives To Not Ignore. Why, do you ask? Because when you string them together, it sounds like: “Oooteenee!!!!”

You know, the Jawa cry? Utini! <— Score, totally found a sound bite on YouTube.

Yes, I did that on purpose. And yes, I may have had to look up words that begin with “O” to make this anagram work. (Don’t judge.)

Anyway, give it a shot, see how it works for you. I know it’s really helped me, especially on days when I’m feeling more Lymey than normal, because in the space of a few minutes I’ve assessed where I’m at, what I can realistically accomplish, and then once I’m done, I’m filled with a very satisfactory tingle of self-appreciation. Ooh, tingly!

And even if you don’t try it, just sounding the battle cry should make you feel better. Providing you’re a dork. (And if you’re not, really, what are you doing here?)

Utini!!!!

The Foda

“The Hat: A Love Story”

Howdy, folks! This year, I’ve started something new: creating a life plan, or as my husband likes to say, “A Life on Purpose.” (Ahhh, the play on words and double entendres that zip around like gnats in our household. Love it.) Anyway, this included a lot of reflection on my part, and prompted the writing of this short story detailing my life far before Mandalf and I were together, or before I ever dreamed my life would one day be turned upside-down by Lyme. Call this chapter one in our story. I hope you enjoy! Sincerely, The Foda.

“The Hat”

 It was a hat that made me fall in love with my husband.

It wasn’t even a particularly nice hat. The colors were chocolate and clementine, the emblem affixed to the front the only real talking point it had. “Life is Good”, it said. I didn’t know it was a brand. I just thought it was a hat for hope-mavens like me who wanted to wear their smiles like a flag on their foreheads, a third evil eye to ward off negative spirits and their human counterparts. I spied it from across the quad between my ten minute walk from “why did I sign up for an eight AM class” to “thank goodness this professor allows open-notebook tests.” It waved at me; an old friend, reminding me of fall and leaves and the clove-studded orange my sister would put into holiday Wassail at Christmas time.

But it wasn’t just the hat, you see, that made me fall face first into love. It was the fact that I owned the very same one, just slightly smaller, although considering the size of his head, it could be they were once quite the same, as it was a knitted hat, which are known to stretch. But it was neither here nor there, this qualifying of the hat, because the moment I saw it, I was in very, very real trouble. This is when that fluttery bird in my stomach dislodged itself from its previous post on my rib cage, and flew straight into my heart. And the realization I was screwed was as physical a thing as if it wrapped its tiny proverbial talons around my pulmonary artery and squeezed.

And I thought, all Ralphie in A Christmas Story style… “Oh fuuuuddddggge.”

Not because I didn’t love the idea of love. But because I’d been studiously, carefully, avoiding the wearer of this hat for two years. You heard me. Two. Years.

And as I saw that bobbing slice of orange and brown blinking at me from across the quad, I knew, I just knew it wasn’t going to work. There was no way I’d be able to pull the proverbial wool over my eyes anymore. Not even if I– quite literally– pulled the wooly hat currently on my head down past the bridge of my nose. That’s right. I was wearing my own matching hat right now, tugged snugly around my ears like a talisman against the cold. The very same one. All matchy-matchy; like friendship bracelets for your face. Which meant there was absolutely no way I was going to get out of talking with him.

Like I said. Fuuuddddggge.

I probably should have turned away, should have waved at a random stranger and left the frosted pavement bisecting the grass like a granite river. Hell, I even considered running directly into the path of a flying frisbee. People were always playing frisbee, even on frigid fall days like today when your fingers turned so numb from the wind, the smack of a disc upon them felt very nearly like a nun striking your knuckles with a ruler. Or so I thought, having never actually experienced such a thing. So imagine, if you can, how desperate I must have been to deliberately put myself between such a flying fiend and the tall man coming my way. But I didn’t fancy a broken nose– although it would have given me an excuse to fix the deviated septum I have– and my depth perception is so atrocious, I would have more likely leapt into the air and have it by-pass me altogether. And this humiliation could not happen– not in front of the man I’d secretly been lusting after for more than 730 days.

So instead I kept on walking, thinking, what do I normally do with my hands? Do they swing with my legs or opposite them? Should I hold onto my messenger bag cooly, or flip my hair back? No, no, don’t do that, that looks… flirtatious. And you are not flirting. 

Why was I not flirting, do you ask? Oh, did I forget to mention? Because I had a boyfriend. A very large, protective, no-one-will-love-you-like-I-can boyfriend. And because someone had told me that only five percent of high school sweethearts made it past college, and dammit if I wasn’t going to be in that five percent. Never mind that he was at another university, more than four hours drive from mine. Never mind that he asked me to choose between my lifelong dream and him.

But that’s a whole other story.

Although while we’re on the subject, what a cheeky genius, tempting me with my insatiable competitive drive to be the five percent. Genius, I tell you! I’ve always been competitive, even for things I have no business being competitive for in the first place. Like frisbee. Or golf. And later, frisbee golf. (Which, apparently, is a thing.) I wanted to be the chic, sporty damsel who could sink that damn plastic plate into the caged basket-thingy and still look fabulous doing it. I convinced myself I might like it; that I might actually be good at it. Although the fact that I separately despised both frisbee and golf should have been a rather hefty clue to the contrary. But always hold out hope, that’s my motto.

Which was how I got myself into all these ungainly positions in the first place.

He approached me then and I lost my breath. It ran out on me, traitorous thing that it was, leaving me feeling quite squeezed and tingly, like a tourniquet had been wrapped around my entire lower body. It wasn’t slow motion, not like it would be in the movies when you first see the love interest, but it might as well have been, my eyes rocked wide from air deprivation and all. There was no sexy music or anything, but my heart was beating so loud in my ears it was quite like a bass drum, riffing a steady, soulful beat that resounded through my numb fingers and toes.

He was about ten feet away, and I could see everything about him, the way his light brown hair curled ever so slightly around the clementine brim of his hat, the ocean blue eyes that sparkled from under sooty lashes, and the wide, charismatic grin displaying rows of large white teeth.

Because his mouth was large, you see, there was no way around it. But it wasn’t off-putting, it was inviting, like some sort of wondrous new land you’d like a visa to enter. I found myself staring at it, the way it curved upwards on both ends like a hammock, and how I wanted to curl up there, in the bow of his lips, and then I froze because oh my God he’s right in front of me and I’m daydreaming about his mouth.

“Nice hat,” I said before he could speak, doffing my head slightly, as if he hadn’t made the connection between our similar choice of chapeau.

“TJ Maxx,” he shrugged, running his long fingers over the nubby wool. His fingernails were short and rounded, like I like them, clean but not fussy. Like a man’s should be.

“Me too,” I said, flipping my hair over my shoulder nonchalantly. Damn! Wasn’t supposed to do that. “Better go, don’t wanna be late,” I offered brightly, telling myself to immediately walk past him, but he was still smiling at me, and the bird on my heart started flapping so hard, it seemed to create a vacuum, rooting me in place.

“Still on campus this year?” he asked, and I nodded, wrapping my coat tighter about my waist because it’s already cold and I shiver when I’m nervous, and this man makes me very, very nervous.

“Eisenhower hall,” I said, turning and pointing at the slate grey building at the far end of the campus.

He laughed and pointed to the similar, slightly more oblong building right next to it. “Hemingway,” he brought his hand to his chest. Which, if I’m not being too indelicate, I must say was rather impressive. His chest, that is. Mainly from the fact it was so wide it made him look vaguely cartoonish, like an inverted triangle. Which, to be frank, I rather liked. Disney fetish and all. It made me vaguely wish he would extend his hand and start singing soulfully: “I can show you the world…” 

He went on. “Looks like we’re neighbors.”

“So I’ll be seeing a lot of you,” I said slowly. It came out oddly pinched, like the dichotomous mix between an exclamation and a threat.

“You will,” he said. It was a promise; flat and sure.

The massive clock tower began to chime, nine o’clock. Several small finches exploded into the air at the sound, their tiny wings fluttering like thumbs shuffling through a deck of cards.

“See ya,” I hurried off past him, noting him watch me go, as if I’d left the vacuum behind as a placeholder.

I told you. I was in such big trouble.

 

….To Be Continued….

Happy 2015!

  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 Greetings, friends! Happy 2015 to all of you.

Alright, I’m going to start off this new year with some honesty. For the past few years, I’ve really dreaded New Year’s Eve. Why? Because for me, it’s always been a time of reflection. And as hard as I’d try to stay positive, one thing would smack me in the face like a cold, smelly fish: Another year gone by, and I’m still not healthy. Another year gone by, and the most memorable thing about me is still that I’m the girl who can’t kick Lyme. For years, there was nothing that could combat this, nothing I could hold up and say, well, at least I have this!!! Until NOW. (Dun dun dun…..)

As of yesterday, the last day of 2014, I wrapped the final draft of my very first novel– a YA fantasy novel called Elements. It clocked in at over 120,000 words, and is the first in a series. I’m thinking trilogy, but I may go all George Lucas and do a triple trilogy… who knows!

So last night, as I sat with Mandalf on our couch, discussing our goals for the new year and playing fetch with our cat, Yoda– (he finally learned how to fetch and return his toy right to our laps, and now he wants to play ALL. THE. TIME. But seriously. When a gorgeous silver striped cat looks up at you expectantly and gives his little musical mewl, how can you say no? I can’t. Which is why I pull my deltoid muscle at least once a day. But I digress.) Anyway, I realized that even though 2014 was by far the worst year of my life, and I spent pretty much every moment of it holed up in my house due to how sick I’ve been, I now have something I can hold up and say ah-HAH! Finally, something that is not overshadowed by my chronic illness! What is it, you say? Well, folks, I’m a writer. Ooh. Spine tingle. There’s something so powerful about saying that. I am a writer. Publishing world, here I come!

The point is, this was the worst year ever. And yet, somehow, I wrote a book. A book I am so monumentally proud of. A book I think is damn good. And it just goes to show, even when the chips are down and you think you’re never going to get back up again… unexpected blessings do happen. I am living proof.

So Happy New Year to all of you, and may you find your own unexpected blessings this year.

Cheers,

The Foda

An Open Letter to My Insurance Company

An Open Letter to My Insurance Company,

Dear Sir or Madam,

I hereby humbly suggest that you reconsider your denial of my petition for a PICC line so that I may receive IV therapy for an illness that has plagued me for over three years straight. While I appreciate your statement that there is not enough medical proof that having this treatment will help me, considering I had a PICC line for four weeks three years ago (and naturally the thought that I may have been bitten by another tick and infected with other co-infections that I did not have before has obviously not occurred to you) let me educate you on one simple fact. I have tried EVERYTHING. This is my last and best option for getting well. And while your suggestion that I pay out of pocket is adorable, I must ask you how many subscribers you have who can’t work due to a debilitating illness have the cash to spare for a treatment which would cost more than it would take to buy a used car for just one month of treatment? At the risk of sounding crass, I believe you know where you can put that suggestion.

In summation, may I remind you that my doctor, one of the few world-class physicians actually literate in this complex and devastating disease, believes that this is a treatment I need to get well, as he has exhausted every antibiotic option with me as well as several herbal, homeopathic, and dietary, over the past year. Therefore, I ask you to kindly reconsider your denial of my claim. Because, to put it bluntly, I’ve already had to give up standard human privileges like, say, walking, driving, working, general happiness, and consuming copious amounts of gluten, dairy, and sugar.

Shall I break it down further? My body is falling apart. I have not been able to leave my residence without assistance for over thirteen months. I subsist on a handful of meals designed to provide as little inflammation as possible. I plan my days around taking medication, supplements, and tinctures every couple hours. My nervous system is as mangled as a switch board after an electrical fire. And you have it within your power to grant me access to the last modicum of hope I have left.

Use this power well. Because if you don’t, well…

Karma’s a bitch. 

Sincerely yours,

The Foda